Let’s concentrate on the league..

Thornhill becomes the unlikely first Forest goalscorer of the season!

Bradford City – 2
Nottingham Forest – 1
(after extra time)

A combination of typical half-job Forest away from home, a bit of bad luck, some spirited opponents and Shilton-reborn in goal for the hosts sees Forest cup campaign over no sooner than it had begun.  With five players – four first teamers – missing through international call-ups, it forced Billy into numerous changes before we even consider injuries.

That’s not to take anything away from the home side who responded positively after Peter Taylor gamely made all three of his substitutions at half time, and from just before the hour mark certainly took the game to Forest.  The Reds continued to make chances – but, alas, it wasn’t to bear any fruit.  I think I’m right in saying that Dele as a late option when chasing a game is yet to prove effective.

Anyhow, six changes from the weekend’s side, mostly enforced, saw the Reds looking something like this:

Chambers  Morgan  Lynch  Cohen
Moussi   McGugan
McCleary   Tyson    Anderson

Or something along those lines –  obviously with a reasonable amount of swapping and changing in midfield.  The game started pretty openly, and Thornhill provided an early warning after call work from Cohen and Anderson lead to the youngster volleyed just wide from the edge of the penalty area.

At the other end former-Stags striker Jake Speight was in a dangerous position, shooting from just outside the six yard box only for Lewis McGugan to throw himself in for the block.  Back on the attack, Lewis played a lovely throughball to Tyson whose run between two defenders saw him through on goal – only to see his effort saved by Jon ‘Shilton’ McLaughlin.

An eventful spell in the game for McGugan culminated in a decent curling effort from 30 yards, however it wasn’t too troublesome for the Bantams keeper to save and hold.  It wasn’t long to wait ’til the Reds could break the deadlock though – Cohen turned and put in a decent cross which found Thornhill who’d made a cracking run to unleash a volley across goal.

Forest had a good spell from now ’til half time – some nice play between Cohen and Thornhill culminated in a decent effort by Moussi from twenty yards, but it was just over the bar.  That pretty much heralded the half time break with the Reds looking relatively comfortable, but in possession of only the one goal lead, of course.

As mentioned above, Peter Taylor opted to use all three of his substitutions at half time – and had clearly told his team at the break to get stuck in more and stop giving the Reds so much time on the ball.  That said, Forest did start the second half well – Tys attempted an overhead kick which didn’t quite work, but it caused mayhem in defence ending up with McGugan who struck well – only to be denied by the feet of McLaughlin.

Shortly after the ‘keeper was on form again to deny Tyson after Paul Anderson had worked well to get him the shooting chance.  After a disappointing game against Burnley Tys seemed eager to prove himself, a great turn saw him with another shooting chance but this time it was off target (although not far off target).

Then came the suckerpunch – having either been denied by the excellent McLaughlin or missing their chances, Bradford capitalised when Luke Chambers played a ridiculous backpass behind Lee Camp, a three-way race between Camp, Lunch and Speight ensued – it was the Bradford striker who won the race, and ultimately it was Syers who scrambled the ball home to equalise for the home side.

This really picked up the home team, and they continued to attack – Wes needed to dive in to deny Moult.  Billy must’ve looked down his bench and cursed his lack of depth – forced to field the carrying-a-knock Dexter Blackstock, and Dele Adebola who replaced Anderson and McGugan.  I don’t like to be mean, but Dele coming on when we’re needing a goal just screams ‘game over’ to me.  I’d love him to prove me wrong.

Forest did make further chances – Tys compounded his bad luck by seeing a shot that finally defeated McLaughlin rebound from the post, McCleary was close to getting onto the rebound but Duff was on hand to get the ball clear.  The Reds kept on pressuring, but with little end product – and despite being injured the Bradford keeper was still able to deny Thornhill and Cohen as extra time loomed large.

So, extra time – the Reds started positively, Tys had a decent effort from the edge of the box but it was just over the bar.  Matty Thornhill was close too – but put his shot wide after Cohen’s cross picked him out in the area.  Of course, it was never going to go all our way though, and Bradford were awarded a freekick after Joel Lynch hauled down a home player.

It was a decently struck effort by Ramsden which was well saved by Camp, a complicated rebound ended up with Hanson putting the ball in from close range to give Bradford the lead, and ultimately of course, the tie.  McKenna – another player carrying a knock – was brought on for the clearly-suffering-with-cramp Lynch, which saw a reshuffle putting McCleary at rightback and Chambers at centreback.

The home side continued to press – Speight turned brilliantly to get beyond both Chambers and Morgan, but the shot was ultimately a let down (or a let off), giving Camp an easy save.  A rare dangerous corner from Forest ended up with Chambers looking like he’d scored but for yet another excellent save from McLaughlin – the final chance falling to Blackstock whose shot gave the Bradford ‘keeper his easiest save of the night.

All in all, a very familiar tale – we certainly had chances, or opportunities to make chances.  Final balls, shots, a bit of bad luck (woodwork) and some awesome goalkeeping denied us.  I guess that makes it not a disaster really – certainly we aren’t the first team to get knocked out early by a lower-league team, and life goes on.

Frustrating though, isn’t it?  I hope I’m writing something more cheerful come Sunday evening.

11 Responses

  1. I hope so too nffc, because I will be there in upper BC! Let’s get the machines roaring please lads!

  2. Thought Davies sounded a bit less maverick and a bit more broken record on the radio tonight. Maybe he should join Radio One? Those guys love playing the same stuff over and over.

    League Cup what? All I care about is 3 points against Leeds on the day I move back to the fair city.

  3. Just got back, and its an accurate enough summary.

    I thought Thornhill had a good night at the office, and has probably put himself in front of McGugan, who spent the night strutting around like an arrogant peacock.

  4. Just got home, in my opinion Lynch pretty much cost us the game, was poor all night, and then he conceded that free kick. He was daft really.

    Still though, Valley Parade is a nice ground.

  5. As the saying goes; ‘don’t panic’.

    My first ‘live’ Forest match for a while [bargain, £10 for two hours of football].

    Largely agree with nffcblog summary. Thornhill certainly not out of place in this company. Didn’t think Lynch was too bad – he seemed to be carrying a knock for a while before the ‘cramp’ and free kick give-a-way.

    I thought it all went pear shaped when Adebola was brought on. For whatever reason the ball-to-the-feet-of-the-centre-forward either stopped or didn’t work [his second touch is a tackle].

    However, the big positive for me was that Forest – under supposed hoof-ball Davies – are a footballing side. Not quite Arsenal, but happy to keep the ball, and most of the players happy to have the ball even when marked.

    The optimist in me says that if we can bring better players into that culture, we will not only be a winning side, but an attractive winning side.

    The pessimist in me says that ‘footballing’ sides are easier to roll over by sides that get stuck in – Arsenal again. The more mature of us will remember that Wimbledon started beating Clough sides in various cups when they were in the bottom tier and continued to do so as the rose through the divisions.

  6. cohen MOM by miles, don’t agree with billy re effort. would be pissed off if i was the moose, thornhill, anderson, cohen or tyson hearing the boss talking about lack of effort. some noise from the home fans taking into account there were not many of them. would like to see that ground full and in high spirits.
    i though mcgugan did well to be honest, some good through balls and he did tackle back. watching blackstock sprit in the warm up makes me wonder how injured he was !! not confident for sunday, but really hope I am proved wrong.

  7. This sounds like a repeat of the beginning of last season. I’m not bothered about losing in the cup as we do have a small squad and surely promotion is the most important thing. But doing well in the cup can instill more confidence in the side. I can bet you Leeds are feeling pretty good now and looking forward to the weekend given that they tonked Lincoln 4-0.

    There is another 20 days left of the transfer window. I can’t believe that we won’t have at least a few more loan signings even if we don’t get Pratley/Whittingham.

    I am with Billy though. The transfer window should open up for the whole of the off season until the first day of the new season. This would seem far more logical as it gives all parties time to asses and prepare their teams, rather than unsettling players/teams during the 1st month of a new season.

  8. At the risk of repeating what others have said over recent weeks – we need new faces!!

    My worry untill, last week, was that ND would not (or could not)fund new signings but would not let anyone make this public. Then came along the NEP interview. The interview made sense, however am I the only one who’s heard him say this all before.

    There is definately an atmosphere at the club which is transmitting to the team. The squad is not big enough which means some players pretty much know they are going to play every week. this is not healthy we need players to know that if they don’t play at the top of thier game somebody is ready to come in and take thier place.

    Arthur’s comments at the weekend were foolish to say the least. It opened up himself and the club to criticism and probably made the two clubs concerned more determined than ever not to sell the players concerned to us!!

    If we can secure at least two signings to add to our loan left back I believe it will make all the difference.
    At the moment we have a squad not quite good enough to challenge. In my view two key players will make all the difference and more importantly change the atmosphere within the club.

  9. Yup. Billy is getting predictable, our failure to win is predictable, heck even my posts are getting predictable!

    Still we need a clinical >20 goal a season finisher. Surely it is Time for adebola to move on. Truth is we have 2 strikers (or 1 and three quarters) in dex and earnie, no more. I am hoping radi matures into a more consistent
    threat, and like everyone else I am hoping against hope for a whittingham/ pratley/ ambrose quality addition.

    Can’t wait for Sunday though. Be good for old big ‘ed’s teams to do the double over the damned.

    On other news, is it just me that is shocked that mr capello selected TWO other championship keepers over campy. England’s number five isn’t a great acolade for a keeper.

    Roll on Sunday

  10. […] (and again, more of the same, with missed chances costing us dear). I was very pleased to see that Matt Thornhill put in a decent stint and scored a goal. Some people who were there have suggested that he puts […]

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